Benedict Cumberbatch was one of six recipients at last night’s Bafta LA Awards, receiving his accolade on stage from his 12 Years a Slave co-star, Chiwetel Ejiofor.
Accepting the award, the Sherlock and Fifth Estate star said he was “quite flabbergasted” and told Ejiofor, “it feels odd to accept British Artist of the Year after what you did in 12 Years a Slave.”
He then singled out his parents, Timothy Carlton and Wanda Ventham, thanking them for their support over the years. “[The award] will end up on my mum’s mantelpiece,” he told the audience. “She’s a very strong-willed woman.”
Among Cumberbatch’s fellow-honorees were British actors, Sir Ben Kingsley and Idris Elba, director Kathryn Bigelow and funnyman Sacha Baron Cohen who was presented with the Charlie Chaplin Britannia Award for Excellence in Comedy, and took the opportunity to play a prank on the evening’s audience.
While on stage, the British comedian accepted a Chaplin-like cane from an elderly wheelchair-bound woman before breaking into a tap dance, tripping and sending the woman – who was said to be the oldest living actor to have worked with the silent movie star – flying.
Other famous faces who turned out for the event included Alice Eve, Sean Penn, Salma Hayek and Nelson Mandela’s daughter, Zindzi, who flew in to present Elba with the British Humanitarian Award. Julia Roberts was also on hand to honour George Clooney – or as her daughter calls him, “George Looney” – with the Stanley Kubrick Award for Excellence in Film.
Explaining why she had been asked to present to Clooney, the actress quipped, “One, Brad Pitt was out of town. Two, Matt Damon, he’s in town but he was unavailable,” but she went on to sing her friend and colleague’s praises: “He’s handsome, he’s talented, he is an exemplary humanitarian and a gifted prankster.”
Clooney was quick to gush back, telling Roberts. “It has been such a pleasure to watch the woman you have become… I rather famously don’t have children but I do have a family. And it’s a family of actors and directors and of writers, and, god forbid, agents and studios and journalists. People who love what they do.”